Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Focus: 'À Bientôt', Sir Roger Moore's poignant farewell

As he grew older, Sir Roger Moore never lost his elegance or sense of humor.

Published some months after his death on May 23rd, 2017, the official blurb of À bientôt establishes that this final book of Sir Roger Moore -whom the world knew as Simon Templar and James Bond for decades- consists on "his reflection on age and ageing". Does that make it a book for old, experienced men? Or only for people over 60? Absolutely not.

Far of being a complaint about getting old -tough Roger takes a look at the uncomfortable issues of his age (he passed away aged 89)- À bientôt feels as a warm last testimony and reflection of a live well lived: his childhood, fame with Templar and Bond, helping others with UNICEF, and how he tried to get used with the present day technologies. All these subjects, isolated, could feel boring if were touched by another person. But Moore did it with so much grace and emotion that you can almost imagine his inimitable voice from up on the sky reading those words as if he was reading them straight to you.

The book contains a coulple of photos from his family albums and some pencil sketches drawn by Roger himself, most of them illustrating the anecdotes described in the paragraphs. One of the funniest parts comes as recalls uncomfortable situations lived in the in airports with security scanners or when he comes up to inventing a few new internet slangs (i.e. IMHO - Is My Hearing Aid On?)

One of the strongest aspects in the piece is that the author leaves aside the common anecdotes of his life on the spotlight (as he did with My Word Is My Bond, published in 2008) and every page becomes sort of a dedicated letter about the ways of life very much like a monologue, almost in a Forrest Gump way. The man who tells us his story here is not Roger Moore, the star, but Roger Moore the father, husband and man of the world. And instead of feeling different to him, of feeling the natural distance between you, the man of the street, and he, a world-known movie star, you'll most likely feel identified in having lived a few or maybe most of the situations he tells us.

Moore's view of these times are filled of interesting passages, as he wonders why people nowadays go to a theatre dressed in shorts and t-shirts as if they were sitting on the couch of their home and remembering the days where he picked his best suit and tie for a movie screening or theatre play showing. The most poignant part is, of course, in the last chapter where he wonders about the mystery of death or, as he called it, the "cutting-room floor", stating he would face it with "
all the dignity a coward can muster - and one last little irony".

À bientôt can be purchased in hardcover or Kindle format through Amazon. People outside the US or UK should use the reliable BookDepository site that offers free shipping worldwide.

That said, it this might sound a cliché at this point, but... what a heatbreaking loss for mankind.

Anyway, let’s better say au revoir, Roger. I have the oddest feeling we’ll meet again sometime.

Nicolás Suszczyk

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